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The importance of CONGRUENT communication

Updated: Jan 1, 2021

With varying success, I’ve always tried to work on my vocabulary. Back in 10th grade, I remember struggling with the word congruent. As I approached my teacher’s desk, I did what any good high school kid would do by trying to explain congruent by throwing in the word postulate, another word I didn’t fully understand. Whatever I said, it brought a big smile to Mr. Gilbertson’s face as he patiently explained to me that the corresponding sides and angles of congruent triangles are equal.

In today’s post about effective communication, the focus is on what you say compared to what you think and feel. Are they congruent? Do your words equal your thoughts and feelings? If not, why? What’s holding you back?

Some things to consider.

Think about the setting. The best setting for congruent conversations is usually one-on-one. Make sure there is ample time to meet so you don’t rush yourself. You’re talking about significant issues and oftentimes, you are anticipating some disagreement or push back. Just like you don’t want your surgeon hurrying through your surgery, you need to slow down. You have your internal organs exposed, so take a deep breath, slow down and meet one-on-one, in person if at all possible.

Look for signs. I can think of many times in my business career when I observed someone (myself and others) doubling down on something trivial or insignificant in the bigger picture. Office layouts, coffee machines, pencil sharpeners, copy machine usage…. I once worked with a guy who wouldn’t let anyone from corporate inside the building. He would try and have meetings with them out on the sidewalk.

When someone makes mountains out of molehills, it’s usually a sign of disagreement around a larger issue.

Let me know if you have any unique ways to ensure congruent communication – for both yourself and your co-workers.

You can reach me at or just click on my home page.

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